The European Commission is currently assessing how best to overcome shortcomings identified by a Commission study on banks’ self-regulation, Commissioner for health and consumer rights John Dalli said in a reply to a parliamentary question by Labour MEP Louis Grech.
The results of a consumer market study published at the end of February 2012 revealed that more than two-thirds of mystery shoppers were not able to switch their bank account successfully.
MEP Grech said that these findings clearly showed that the self-regulation initiative based on common principles, as established by the Banking Industry Committee (EBIC), did not deliver to our consumers the clarity and certainty that was needed.
Grech highlighted the Commission’s 2011 study ‘The Single Market through the lens of the people: A snapshot of citizens’ and businesses’ 20 main concerns’, imparts the following information: When moving abroad, consumers and citizens experience difficulties when opening a bank account in their new host country, since this exercise is often subject to conditions of residence and/or employment and asked whetherthe Commission is taking steps to address this issue.
Commissioner Dalli told the parliament that the study carried out for the Commission concludes that the self-regulatory initiative based on Common Principles, as established by the European Banking Industry Committee (EBIC), has not been successful in supporting and protecting European consumers when switching a bank account from one bank to another.
The main shortcomings identified by MEP Grech are: non compliance of banks with the self regulatory code in 71% of the cases analysed and lack of information, which has been demonstrated to be incomplete or inconsistent, in part driven by lack of awareness amongst bank staff.
Dalli said that the Commission is currently assessing how best to overcome such shortcomings and is considering bringing forward a EU initiative on bank accounts aiming to enhance protection of consumers of retail financial services and the integration of the Single Market.
Additionally, the Commission, is now monitoring the measures in place at Member State level to facilitate access to bank accounts, in particular in EU countries other than the consumer’s permanent residence.
Tags: mystery shoppers